It’s the holidays, so we’re going to keep it a little more lighthearted with this month’s Positive Pet Training Hop, and our theme “Your dog’s good points and bad points, and how you’re working on improving them.” I’m going to select each of my dog’s worst habits and best traits, and they are illustrating (as best we could) while wearing their “Naughty/Nice” Christmas bandanas (the bandana folds so one word or the other is seen).
The truth is, when selecting what I might think is their worst behavior, I realized that we mostly don’t work on improving those particular things. We accept some things as part of their personalities. Luke has a lot of issues we are constantly working on (not necessarily naughty, but sometimes just frustrating behaviors arising from his fears), and sometimes we just need to choose our battles. Cricket is mostly very well behaved, she is 13 years old, and a stubborn beagle, so by now there are some things we have just accepted about her.
We’ll do naughty first, so we can end on a high note. 🙂
Luke – Naughty
One of Luke’s bad habits that is most challenging for us has nothing to do with his fears. He is an unrepentant counter surfer. Other than saying “no”, “get down” or “off”, we have not found any way to stop him from doing this, and even those words don’t often work if there’s something he really wants. I believe this is called “self-rewarding behavior”, which seems apt. The only way we can deal with this is management and that means we simply cannot leave food unattended, on the counter or anywhere else.
On the long list of things I need to work on with Luke, right now, managing this one is easier. I also haven’t found the answer of exactly how to train him not to do this. Although training myself to stop leaving food unattended, when I’m easily distracted, hasn’t exactly been easy either!
Now, Cricket would disagree with us that this is Luke’s naughtiest behavior. She finds it far more annoying when he keeps her ball away from her (plus sometimes she’s standing by egging him on when something comes off the counter…..like the chicken breast he stole once).
Luke – Nice
Luke’s intelligence and willingness to learn are strong points for him, and he is such a good model for photographs for the blog! But by far my favorite thing about him is how loving he is, how he wants to be by my side (it means so much to me that he follows me around the house like our late beagle Kobi used to do), and how he loves to snuggle.
Cricket – Naughty
Cricket really is a good girl, and it was more difficult to come up with something for her. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, this won’t be the first time that you’ve seen photos of her barking at me when she wants me to throw the ball! I used to try to get her to stop, by not throwing it until she stopped barking, but honestly, she can outdo me in the stubbornness department every time. I gave up, and since to me it’s harmless behavior (other than when she lets out one of those high-pitched barks right in my ear when I’m bending over!), I have let it go.
I’m just so happy that she’s still this excited about playing ball, when she is 13 years old, and has arthritis and a heart condition. We are going to do everything we can to make her happy!
Cricket – Nice
Well, she’s just so sweet and happy. She spends a lot of time napping, and she looks adorable when she is (and it’s so cute when she snores)! She brings a smile to my face every day, whether she’s quietly napping or merrily dancing around the house waiting for her treat when we come home.
I also cherish those moments when the two of them are this nice together. They have their times when they argue over space or attention, so it’s extra special when they get along so nicely. I think they must know Santa is coming, because I did not set up these photos of them together on the couch, they did it all on their own….that’s especially nice.
Do you let any of your dogs’ naughty behaviors slide sometimes?
We are pleased to be co-hosting the Positive Pet Training blog hop with Tenacious Little Terrier and Travels with Barley. Pet bloggers, please join us in this hop by posting your positive pet training stories. The hop remains open through Sunday. Our theme this month is “Naughty & Nice”, however, you may share any positive pet training story, whether it’s on our theme or not!
Jodi Stone says
Counter-surfing is a behavior we haven’t been able to train her out of. So we’ve learned that management is key, and I really feel like that is ok.
I think we sometimes just have to focus on the good things they do, and reward for that. I love the photos, they look so sweet.
I think management can be OK too. Sometimes I feel like you just have to let your dog express their personality, and not try to train it all out of them!
I think the only positive way to train not to counter surf would be to give them something so much more valuable on the ground level. So yeah, management is our best move.
Yesterday I got up to turn the Christmas lights on and turned around to see Leo licking my dinner.
I swear that Luke watches me the whole time I’m eating, just waiting for that moment when I might be distracted….. 🙂
Bell Fur Zoo says
Awe dat last picture is so precious!! I finks Luke was trying to tell you which egg he wanted fur breakfast 😉 BOL
Matt (& Matilda)
You might be right about that! They do get their eggs, and they love them!
Oh boy. Management is sometimes the only thing that gets us through the day 🙂 Barley is terrible at counter surfing. Rye does pretty well when I say off, but the only way to get Barley off the counter is to physically remove her, so it’s a lot easier to just keep it from happening in the first place.
Now I wouldn’t have guessed that of Barley! I would have guessed Rye was the far more mischievous one – I’m glad to hear Barley takes her turn sometimes too. 🙂 Oh no, wait, now I’m remembering the stories of Barley getting into things she shouldn’t have…..I think Rye has just taken a little of the pressure of her with her own naughtiness. 🙂
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Mr. N can be leash reactive to dogs and has separation anxiety but he has pretty good house manners. If I caught him counter surfing, I would be both very impressed and bemused! If he really wanted to, I could see him climbing up on chairs and tables to reach the counter!
Mr. N is definitely smart enough to figure that out! I don’t think he wants to. 🙂
Love this post. It’s always nice to see a reminder that everyone has quirks in their personality and no one is ever perfect. Yes, you don’t want to lose chicken breasts off your counter every week. But, in the scheme of things, it doesn’t seem like this is a terrible behavior for Luke. Especially if it helps you stay organized and neat around the house. 🙂
Now that’s a good point! I used to be obsessively neat, but that has declined as I’ve gotten older. I’m glad to have Luke to keep me motivated!
I kind of forgot most of Bear’s bad behavior because I just accepted there’s not much I can do when he does what he does. I’m well known for being stubborn … but Bear frequently wins. For me, it comes down to what might hurt him. His jumping on the counter? Him knocking stuff off the counter? Not really dangerous – as long as the stove is off. Chewing cords, him sticking his paw in the toaster … those are problems. I trained myself to not leave stuff out on the counter (food or breakables) – and I watch very carefully when I’m cooking. I unplugged the toaster when not using it. I’d pretty much forgotten about all of this until The Boy moved in and I had to train him. Luckily, Bear’s slowed down quite a bit – so The Boy can afford to mess up occasionally 😉
That’s one of the few joys of having our pets get older – they often behave better! I totally agree, as long as it’s not hurting them, then why not let them have a little fun? We haven’t had a lot of naughty cats, though Sam’s sister Katie did like to steal dog treats off the counter, and she was known for getting into a lot of things.
I think that they are both very very nice! I agree with you about not freaking out about things that are going to be very hard to change like Cricket’s barking. R barks that same way, and I just try to smile while appreciating his amazing exuberance. R is also a counter surfer, and we use management, like you do. I think that the potential rewards (from his view point) far outweigh anything that we could give him for “leaving it”.
Often I think some dogs just do certain things because it’s fun (or rewarding), and they certainly don’t consider the consequences. 🙂 It’s part of their sheer joie de vivre!
Dolly the Doxie says
Luke is pretty darn naughty! There is nothing but naughty in this house! Love Dolly
I bet Santa will still bring you and your siblings something though, Dolly. 🙂
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
love the bandannas, cricket your ears I love too
Her ears are always in motion! LOL
Da DB Boyz says
We are so very lucky to have short dogs who can’t counter surf…but if you leave a chair out just a little bit, Jakey will hop up and check out what’s on the table(only when he thinks we have left the house tho…). He is our sneaky boy!
That Jakey is a smart one! Sometimes Luke tries to be sneaky, but often he’ll do it right in front of us too!
I’ve seen plenty of videos of small dogs doing stuff like that….I’m surprised our Cricket has never tried it. I guess she’s never been much of a jumper or climber, which I’m sure is a good thing – since she’s a beagle! LOL
Brian Frum says
We have a counter surfer here too, but I won’t mention his name!
Oh no, is it you, Brian? 🙂
Shadow and Ducky's Mom says
Callie was our counter surfer. And if Ducky were tall enough, she’d be one too! Luckily, her legs are just a bit too short. Of course, no matter what you do to try to break them of the habit, it’s not going to work if other humans constantly sneak them a bite of food while standing at the counter or sitting at the table/food bar. (Ahem, Samuel!). Ducky has resource-guarding issues that I keep trying to work with her on, but it’s hard when you’re her favorite resource in a small house. Oh well, just have to keep working on that one.
Shadow is always a nice girl. She hasn’t been naughty since Callie went to Heaven. She’s still happy and loves to play, but like Cricket, she’s 13 and has arthritis. So, she naps a lot. And sometimes – not often – I can get a photo of them sharing close quarters in the house or yard.
I think those together photos are even more special when you can’t get them all the time. 🙂
I love the photos, what a great story each one tells.
Thank you, Barbara!
We have all adapted to the fact that Bailie enjoys being naughty but it isn’t hurting anyone, just a few pillow explosions or some stolen food now and then. She only does it for fun and Mom can’t win the battle, so naughty on! Good job counting eggs, Luke!
I think it’s fun to just let dogs be dogs sometimes, as long as it’s nothing harmful. It’s part of the joy of having them!
they are loveable the way they are … but nevertheless please keep me informed if you found the trick how we can avoid counter surfing safari’s… eggs on the floor are not egg-siding LOL
That’s for sure! I’ll definitely let you know if we figure it out…..don’t hold your breath. 🙂